Re: missing the point

Alx V. Dark (avd5863@IS.NYU.EDU)
Fri, 27 Jan 1995 13:15:30 -0500

On Thu, 26 Jan 1995, Hugh Jarvis wrote:

> You have totally missed her point about getting off anthro-l. She has a
> very valid point. People insist on using anthro-l to preach their own
> opinions about subjects which they would never discuss in such a manner
> had they been face-to-face with the other parties in the dialogue. This
> is very unfortunate. Why? Because it interferes with the friendly
> environment which is necessary for a good dialogue. The result is that
> a few get their high off making some (quite probably meaningless) point,
> and many others just get turned off and gain nothing. Regrettably, this
> is the norm on the Net.
> Cheers,
> Hugh

Yes indeed, posters are often more emotionally heated and rhetorical on
the net than they would be in person. But I'm not so sure that will
change or that a more emotionally-toned down discussion would always be
desirable. Having been involved in a few fire-fights myself, I know all
too well this can lead nowhere fast. BUT, much rhetorical flourish
serves to substitute for all that gesticulating, laughing, growling,
hearty "hell yes" and "what?" kind of talking behavior that gets across
your personality and your convictions in face-to-face discussion. I
usually find long posts written in an academic tone boring. Just as I
might pick up a book now and then in a library that looks good from its
title, and read a little bit here and there, but would hardly sit down
that moment and read the whole thing, this is a letter-like system that
seems to me to work best with short, suggestive posts. There's a certain
tone that promotes informal and honest discussion, which is not really
the tone of an academic book, and includes the freedom to be angry and
even stupid, in the sense of a conversation where one throws out an idea
without having to examine it up and down for how it will be received, or
whether it is the ultimate statement you would make on an issue.

Maintaining a friendly space for discussion means to me that you have to
also give people some slack to go this way and that with an idea and
their feelings about an issue, (hey, even hang themselves with it).

______________________________ ____________________________
Alx V. Dark Department of Anthropology
internet: New York University
"Wash your brains, think 25 Waverly Place
again, double check" -- H3O New York, NY 10003 USA